A clause in the agreement between the city of El Paso and the home of the El Paso Chihuahuas gives the city a few free rides every year that aren't really being used.

The city of El Paso owns Southwest University Park but it is actually run by the MountainStar Sports Group. They agreed in the beginning that the city of El Paso could use the facility, for free, 10 times per year.

The city hasn't really taken them up on the offer very often though and the reason why is mostly financial. In a nutshell, free can be pretty expensive.

There are some guidelines that must be followed if El Paso decides to cash in one of their freebies and they, along with expenses, complicate things to the point that the city rarely uses the stadium.

The devil's in the details here ... the event has to have a "municipal purpose" and provide some sort of gain to the taxpayers since, ultimately, we're paying for this thing.

Concerts, car shows, flea markets, whatever ... pretty much anything could be done IF  there's a benefit to the community. The cost of presenting these things is what really holds things up as the city still gets a bill. Free doesn't necessarily mean free to us either. Just because the city pays no usage fee, they don't have to let us in for free.

Say they book Metallica ... they don't have to pay to use the park but they do have to pay the band, security and staff as well as buy the beer, food and churros they plan to sell during the show among other expenses.

We'd still be looking at the usual ticket prices to get in because, free ain't free. That's why the city rarely ever uses this particular perk.

The community, by rule, has to be able to provide their input on using the facility. If you have thoughts, or an event that fits the criteria and isn't cost prohibitive, contact your city rep and let 'em know.

For info on presenting an event anywhere in El Paso, click here.

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